Religion is Not the Opium of the Masses; We’re Just High on Ourselves
Last night NTV aired a useful investigative piece exposing all the falsehood that masquerades as religion in this country. The piece exposed “prophets”, “apostles”, etc. who are ripping of congregations, manipulating the Scriptures to suit their own needs and preaching godliness as a means of gain [1 Timothy 6:5] (financial, spiritual or otherwise). The truth is that although these prophets, preachers, ‘men of God’ etc are travestying Christianity, the responsibility for discerning between truth and falsehood rests with congregants (lay Christians) and if you are in Christ you have the duty of searching the scriptures to find out if what a preacher says is true (Acts 17:11).
However, the main point of this article is not to shout about the ludicrousness of what was revealed and I’m especially not interested in trying to defend God and/or Christianity. The question I would really like to ask is this: is religion really society’s problem? Or even one of its problems?
What the investigative piece portrayed is a (false) hope industry, if you will. One that is preying on the weak, the desperate, the helpless. The piece correctly identified that desperation can drive many of us to a bad place where we are willing to pay any price for what we need: healing / financial provision etc. Where we will believe the irrational and accept the incredulous in order to find rest, comfort and peace.
I could not help but draw some other parallels to this truth. I could not help but think of all the other false religions we hold on to in life. As I watched, I thought briefly on we who, desperate for career success, have sacrificed our families in order to ‘make it’ or who have been tempted to sacrifice our personal holiness in order to ‘make it’. I thought about we who, desperate to retain society’s respect have sacrificed our unborn children (or encouraged our children to kill their unborn children) who were conceived in iniquity (pre-marital sex / adultery). I thought about we who, full of political ambitions, have compromised our values to succeed. I thought about we who, desperate to be accepted in all the wrong circles, conform to their standards even if those standards contradict God’s.
You see, the problem with society is not all that we are religious. It is not that we are genuinely seeking God. It is the opposite. It is that we all are naturally and fundamentally irreligious and self-serving. It is that we seek our own pleasure, rather than God’s.
False hope. False promises. False gods. False religion.
The truth of God traded for a lie – that is the problem. That we are not worshiping the Creator of heaven and earth (in the way that he desires and requires), but rather we are worshiping the created: our boyfriends, girlfriends, money, parents, preachers etc. (and in all this, who we truly worship is ourselves) – that is the problem. That we treasure money and comfort over Christ’s will – that is the problem.
That we are servants but servants of our own evil desires, slaves to sin – that is our problem.
We, are the problem.